Studies across a wide spectrum of mammalian species have long proved that those which take in fewer calories do in fact live the best (and sometimes longest) lives. It is not the goal of an enlightened being to lengthen her earthly life, but to treat her donkey (body) as compassionately as possible, maintaining its health as much as is possible. For the past twenty years, this donkey (body) has thus been fed fewer calories. And, despite some karmic and inherent biochemical difficulties, he does seem to prefer this kind of eating. He has, at any rate, turned away from the American way of "stuffing" the self, for this is immoderate. It is part of the mental disease which the Buddhists identify as "grasping, clinging, and craving."
It is simply too easy for us to get so involved in our personal lifestyle that we can lose sight of our sisters and brothers on this planet. These include all human beings. And like some native American traditions, I include animals in the phrase, "all my relations." This is one reason that I do not eat dead animals.
Another reason is that the human body, from the standpoint of physiology, anatomy, and general biochemistry, is that of an herbivore, from its teeth all the way through the end of the digestive tract. We were never designed to eat meat.
Test after test, during the past one hundred years, support intercultural studies that prove, over and over, that vegetarians are stronger, faster, more alert, more peaceful, and happier than their carnivoric counterparts among many human cultures.
People love to whine that, if they did not "get their meat," they would not be "as strong." But many creatures are amazingly more powerful than human beings. (A chimp is as strong as six men.) Gorillas, who are vegetarians, are also considerably stronger than human beings. Yet the gentle gorilla can enter the forest in the wild, and no creature flees, for it has the reputation of a nonviolent critter. Would that we could say the same about ourselves!
Another reason that vegetarianism is a preferred pattern of food-intake is the rate of actual human starvation in our world: A full nine-tenths of all grain grown in this country is fed to cows and pigs so that we can have our burgers and bacon. That is a huge crop! If this food went to the hungry human beings of our planet, starvation would, very quickly, become a distant memory. But, as it is, this day, thirty thousand children will drop dead from starvation. Embracing vegetarianism might be only symbolic; it will not change the world. But if enough people discovered and lived it, it could mean the survival of many, many innocent lives.
Throughout history, many mysticsaints and sages have been vegetarians, and this is by no means a "mere coincidence."
There are also many other reasons, including the fact that over two thousand chemicals are used in the processing/storage of meat. Meat stays in the human digestive system usually about two days, and during that time, it rots and becomes rancid. This "spoiled meat" is questionable as a good source of protein.
The average active person needs about 45 grams of protein per day. This can be easily and handily obtained through moderate inclusion of peanut butter (8 gm/tablespoon), egg-whites, nuts, cheeses, soy-products, etc. These also provide a higher-quality protein than meat, and lack the dangerous animal-fat that is killing so many Americans through heart-problems.
My ultimate goal is to live in a Franciscan peace with the other creatures of this planet. Eating meat alters the energy-field of a person in ways that can be "seen" or sensed by other creatures; so, every creature knows when you are, and when you are not, a carnivore.